Barrell Bourbon Batch 018 & 019

TASTING NOTE TUESDAYS

Barrell Bourbon Batch 018

Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (From undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee)

Proof: 111.56

Age: 11 Years (Blend of 11, 14, and 15 year old barrels)

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes corn, rye, and malted barley)

MSRP: $90 (2019)

Official Website


Barrell Bourbon Batch 019

Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (From undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee)

Proof: 109.4

Age: 9.5 Years (Blend of 9.5 to 14 year old barrels)

Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes corn, rye, and malted barley)

MSRP: $90 (2019)

Official Website

Batches 018 and 019 are the latest in Barrell Craft Spirits’ Barrell Bourbon line, where each batch is unique and released at barrel proof.

The batches share distillation sources in Kentucky and Tennessee, along with a similar age and proof. While the labels denote the lowest age of whiskey contained in each blend, the company website provides more detail indicating older bourbon incorporated into each bottle. True to the nature of Barrell Bourbon batches, the blend of barrels from multiple distilleries and of varying ages (and, presumably, flavor profiles), suggests careful and purposeful curation.

Batch 018: According to the company, this blend started with an 11 year old blend, which was then given structure by incorporating 14 and 15 year old bourbons. Dark cherries and honey with a rye spice backbone form the aroma. This gives way to a full-bodied sip, with honey and caramel joined by graham crackers. A touch of heat introduces the finish, with a tidal wave of cinnamon spice transitioning to cane sugar and caramel sweetness. The bourbon handles its high proof nicely, giving the cinnamon spice note the spotlight while allowing sweeter flavors to complement it, all the while keeping any trace of excessive heat in check while still maintaining a healthy amount of spice.

Batch 019: According to the company, a careful selection of 9.5 to 14 year old barrels from Kentucky and Tennessee were sorted into five groups. Portions of those five groups were then blended together to maximize unique qualities of each. Sweet aromas are on display, with vanilla and maple syrup joined by dried apricots. The palate gives way to an assembly of sweets - maple sugar candy, candied raisins, and a caramel note reminiscent of Werther’s Original candies. Dark cherries complement the candy flavors. A light spice develops on the tongue, with a warming peppery rye that morphs to a lingering rock candy note on the finish. Overall a complex bourbon with a traditional flavor profile that should satisfy bourbon purists.

While they appear similar on the surface, batches 018 and 019 deliver very different drinking experiences. In my discussions with company founder Joe Beatrice over the years, it’s clear blending is a meticulous and careful process the company takes seriously. The nuances that arise in the end result are proof of concept, and evident with the batches here.

As you’re probably wondering which batch I prefer, the answer is simply that it depends on my mood. Batch 018 offers up a healthy dose of spice, arousing the senses with cinnamon spice as the star of the show. Batch 019 is more of a quintessential bourbon, with dark fruit and sweeter notes delivered in what forms a complex array of flavors. Interestingly, sipping these side by side reminds me of Batch 005 and Batch 006, my first experience with Barrell Bourbon. I liken Batch 018 to 005 with its dominant spice notes, while Batch 019 shares Batch 006’s impeccable balance and complexity. With these latest batches Barrell continues to impress, and live up to its premium price point.

The samples used for this review are from production bottles and were provided at no cost courtesy of Barrell Craft Spirits. We thank them for the samples and for allowing us to review them with no strings attached.

Written By: Nick

May 14, 2019
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Barrell Bourbon Batch 018 & 019
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